What is the outlook on the repetition and dropout rate in Colombia?

COVID-19 could increase the country’s repetition and dropout rates.


The average grade repetition rate in Colombia is about 2% per year.

The average dropout rate in Colombia is 3% per year.

There are about 10 million students enrolled in the Colombian education system.

According to the PISA 2018 tests, Colombia is the country with the second highest grade repetition rate, given that 41% of the students who participated in the test claim to have repeated at least one grade.


Bogotá, May 4, 2020 The country has been reducing its total repetition and dropout rates, reaching historic lows in 2018, with values of 1.98% and 3.05%, respectively. However, for both cases, this trend could be affected by the suspension of face-to-face classes and the implementation of remote or virtual classes, due to the pandemic. An additional aggravating factor at this juncture is that 62% of the students do not have an Internet connection or a computer at home to continue their academic activities.


This is explained by a statistical analysis conducted by the Economics of Education Laboratory (LEE) of the Universidad Javeriana, based on the information reported by the Ministry of National Education.


Dropout rate in Colombia


The departments of Guainía, at 10.21%, and Vichada, at 6.99%, have the highest dropout rates, compared to the departments of Nariño, at 1.15%, and Bogotá, at 1.65%, which have the lowest rate.

In the framework of COVID-19, “the dropout rate could increase, due to students’ discouragement for not having access to technology and many young people will have to work to help their families amidst the economic crisis,” says Luz Karime Abadía, Co-Director of LEE.

Grade repetition rate in Colombia


The highest repetition rate is concentrated in the departments of Amazonas, at 6.82%, Guainía, at 5.44%, Guaviare, at 4.66%, and La Guajira, at 4.33%.

The department of Cauca has the lowest total grade repetition rate at 0.75%.

Despite the efforts made by parents, students and teachers, COVID-19 could increase the repetition rate, since, for some institutions, remote education has consisted of sending homework home without the explanations usually provided in person, leaving thus students with gaps that prevent them from being promoted during this school year or future years. Therefore, it is important to implement leveling and tutoring programs in priority areas when schools reopen.

If you would like to see the complete report on the dropout rate, click here.

If you would like to see the complete report on the grade repetition rate, click here.

You can also find the two documents in the PUBLICATIONS section.